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Foxconn founder suggests Taiwan shower Olympic athletes with cash

NT$100 million suitable for gold medalists: Gou

Foxconn founder Terry Gou (left) and table tennis player Chuang Chih-yuan 

Foxconn founder Terry Gou (left) and table tennis player Chuang Chih-yuan  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Foxconn founder Terry Gou (郭台銘) suggested in a Facebook post on Saturday (July 31) that the Taiwanese government should increase the prize money for Olympic medalists by doling out NT$100 million (US$ 3.58 million) to gold winners and NT$10 million to any athlete who breaks an Olympic or world record.

The Taiwanese government’s monetary rewards for Olympic medalists, as well as medalists at other designated international sporting events, are among the most lucrative in the world. Currently, Taiwan's central government hands out NT$20 million to each Olympic gold medalist, NT$7 million to each silver medalist, and NT$5 million to each bronze medalist, not to mention generous prizes offered by the governments of the cities or counties these medalists reside in.

According to Gou, this is not enough. The tycoon has suggested an Olympic gold medalist receive NT$100 million; a silver medalist NT$80 million; a bronze medalist NT$50 million; and for anyone who finishes fourth, NT$20 million.

Taiwan’s current gold medal prize of NT$20 million ranks the third-highest in the world, only trailing behind Singapore’s US$1 million and Indonesia’s US$745,000.

The U.S. only gives US$37,500, which is 1/19 of Taiwan's offer, to an Olympic gold medalist. Countries such as the U.K., Norway, and Sweden do not give Olympic medalists any extra prizes, according to an Elle Magazine report. These countries hold the belief that the Olympic Games are held to convey sportsmanship and that it's more meaningful to put more resources into training athletes, the report said.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Cheng Yun-peng's (鄭運鵬) said the idea of pushing for more lucrative monetary rewards for athletes is a relic of authoritarian-era thinking, CNA reported.

To improve the nation’s athletic competitiveness, the government should simply encourage more children to take up sports, encourage parents to support them, and give corporations more incentives to sponsor athletes, the legislator said.